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Dennis Mark Malaska (born January 17, 1978 in Youngstown, Ohio) is a retired relief pitcher from Major League Baseball who played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003 and the Boston Red Sox in 2004. Mark grew up on the crime filled south side of Youngstown, Ohio. He attended Cardinal Mooney High School where he earned three varsity letters in both baseball and basketball as well as All-Steel Valley honors in both sports. After being offered several athletic scholarships in both sports, Mark chose to continue his baseball career at The University of Akron.
Malaska attended the University of Akron (1997-2000) where he nearly ended his baseball career after the sudden death of his younger brother David in the summer of 1997. Friends and family convinced Mark, though devastated, to return to school. He went on to set and still holds University of Akron single-game records for runs (5), doubles (3), and RBIs (10). He also garnered back-to-back Best Pro Prospect honors in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (1998 and 1999) where he set and still holds NECBL season records for total bases, extra-base hits, triples, and RBIs while playing center field for the Danbury Westerners (Danbury, CT.) In the spring of 2000, Malaska was developed into a relief pitcher at the University of Akron because of the team's need for a closer. He finished the 2000 NCAA season with a .326 batting average and a 1.13 ERA earning him All Mid-American Conference First Team honors. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 2000 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. A year after being drafted, he tied for the organizational lead in strikeouts, and in 2002 led the organization in complete games. He made his Major League debut with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003 and posted a 2.81 ERA in 22 appearances out of the bullpen, becoming only the third player in University of Akron history to reach the major leagues. He was acquired off waivers by the Boston Red Sox after the 2003 season and received a World Series Championship ring as a member of the 2004 Boston Red Sox. In his major league career, Malaska appeared in 41 games and compiled a 3-2 record with 29 strikeouts and a 3.75 ERA.
Honors and AwardsEdit
- 1998 New England Collegiate Baseball League All Star
- 1998 New England Collegiate Baseball League Best Pro Prospect
- 1999 New England Collegiate Baseball League All Star
- 1999 New England Collegiate Baseball League All Star Game MVP
- 1999 New England Collegiate Baseball League Best Pro Prospect
- 2000 All Mid-American Conference First Team
- 2002 Baseball America Tampa Bay Devil Rays #29 Rated Prospect
- 2002 California League All Star
- World Series Champion (2004)